NHS is most widely held concern of UK adults, survey finds

Dennis Campbell reports in The Guardian 10th October 2016: NHS is most widely held concern of UK adults, survey finds

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Research for Ipsos Mori’s latest ‘issues index’ indicates worries about Britain’s health service are growing

The NHS has narrowly replaced immigration and Brexit as a key issue facing Britain in the minds of most voters, according to a new survey of public opinion by pollsters Ipsos Mori.

Two out of five (40%) mentioned the health service, hospitals or healthcare as a concern to them – more than cited any other issue. That was just ahead of the numbers who identified immigration or immigrants (39%) as either the most important or an important issue.

The European Union or Europe was mentioned the third highest number of times (35%), according to the poll of 980 adults chosen to be representative of the whole population.

Europe was also identified by the largest number of respondents (23%) as the single most important issue of all facing Britain today, ahead of immigration/immigrants (20%). Using that measure of concern the NHS was only the third most often-cited issue (10%).

The firm’s latest “issues index” monthly tracker poll of what people think is important shows that 4 percentage points more people identified either immigration or the EU last month as a concern when their views were sought compared to those who had done so in August. However, an even larger monthly rise in the number of voters who mentioned the NHS – 9 percentage points – made it the most-mentioned issue. It is the first time that it has been the most widely-held concern since June 2015, when 44% cited it.

“The NHS in particular saw a rise in concern this month, as fieldwork for this survey took place as media attention was focused on the planned and then cancelled junior doctors’ strikes,” said Gideon Skinner, Ipsos Mori’s head of political research.

“But even so, this tallies with other research which suggests [that] while satisfaction with NHS services is holding up, concern about the future of Britain’s favourite public service is growing, with record levels expecting it to get worse over the next few years, while worries over waiting times and funding are perennial underlying factors,” he added…..

…A recent poll by Britain Thinks found that while 30% of voters trusted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to protect the NHS, even more – 38% – said that Theresa May would do so.

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About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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